Emergence of the LGBT Community in Malaysia has called for many, like Transgenderism In Malaysia, to stand up and fight for what they believe in. This group consists of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and with various other gender identities and fluidity. Since the day the LGBTQ community has been known to the world, there have been a series of debates and issues regarding sexual orientation. One is transgenderism in Malaysia and the organisations and support that are available.
What is Transgenderism?
Transgenderism is a concept wherein transgender people have a gender expression or identity that is opposite to their assigned gender during birth. For instance, someone is a male at birth but he is living his life like a regular woman in society. There are transgender people who want medical assistance to completely convert themselves in the gender they want. These people who undergo such operation can be identified as transsexual.
But, keep in mind the transgenderism does not only cover these two categories. It is also used as an umbrella for non-binary, genderqueer, bigender, pangender, and other similar kinds.
Transgenderism is a sexual orientation different from others.
Transgenders can identify themselves as bisexual, asexual, heterosexual, homosexual, or not identify themselves at all. This concept also connects us to transgender congruence. An extent to which a person feels genuine, comfortable, and authentic in his/her physical appearance. While there are some who undergo medical treatments to replace their sex organs. There are still people who keep their original sex organs for many reasons such as financial incapability or medical issues.
Today, many transgender people are suffering from discrimination in workplaces, public areas, and the healthcare sector. A fact that they are not legally protected from discrimination is considered by many people.
Transgenderism In Malaysia
Transgenderism is a natural act but the Islamic tradition in Malaysia is against this concept. Many transgenders in the country consider their intentions as innate. Because of the hatred and discrimination spread all over the country, the Malaysian government and the public judge them and blame them for indecent behavior.
That’s right, you can find a lot of cases involving transgenders fighting against the public and standing up against false accusations.
Treatment of the Malaysian public to transgenderism has not changed a bit.
There are situations that it became worse even after a series of debates and legal cases that were dropped. To better understand what it’s like to be transgender in Malaysia, let’s go back to the story of Nisha Ayub, a transgender woman who defended the rights and privileges of her community. Her story started 19 years ago when she was arrested for wearing women’s clothes at the age of 21. She dressed like a woman during that time. Since it was against the Sharia laws, she was sent to men’s prison. After being arrested, she suffered from abuse and assaults by the prison officers and other convicts in jail.
She was, later on, released from the prison and she started building her foundation named the SEED Foundation. Her foundation aims to protect transgender people and amend the laws that are preying them. This foundation was located in a small town in Kuala Lumpur where people go to her for advice.
In 2016, she was awarded the International Woman of Courage award from the U.S. She was the first-ever transgender woman to receive this novelty.
Nasha disclosed how it’s like to live a transgender life in Malaysia. She said that this population always lives in fear. Just imagine walking down the street with fear in your eyes because you can get arrested anytime and suffer from the hands of abusive jail officers and convicts. The Malaysian prison is terrible and no transgender wants that kind of life. Also, transgenders are treated as deviants whom people perceive as a group living against the standards of society. Many religious leaders and government authorities have triggered transphobia nad homophobia for a long time now.
Social influence of the Muslim religion is spreading
Even Malaysia, a secular country, has no independent capability to turn down Islam. Constitution of Malaysia continues to grant the authorities to identify crimes for Muslims. Even if the matter is not stated in federal laws. In this country, 60% are Muslims and they are always covered by Sharia laws. So if you are a Muslim and you want to be a transgender, the laws of Islam will always be there to haunt you and identify you as a criminal.
While it’s true that Sharia laws can only punish Muslim people. There are cases that put transgender people of different religions under the same situation. Because of the effect of the laws in the whole country. If they cannot be charged with criminal punishments under the Sharia law, the federal laws will accuse them of public indecency.
Muslim Influence and Acceptance
Even if you are a Muslim or not, being transgender is a lot of pain in Malaysia. Some of the consequences transgenders receive here include losing their basic rights as a normal citizen and that brings them more complex problems.
Let’s say, for instance, if you want to undergo a gender reassignment surgery or a medical treatment to change your sex organs, you will have to find a surgeon who is willing to do it even after the fatwa. This is a very challenging task because there are only a few doctors who are willing to help you. Thus, it looks like you are being deprived of your right to receive the medical treatment that you want.
Your other option if you want to change your sex organs is to leave the country
Look for other medical staff to assist you. But, if you would think about the price of leaving the country and doing surgery abroad, you would want to stay in Malaysia because it’s expensive. And even after receiving the surgery and going back to Malaysia. Your government and Islam won’t still recognize your change in gender since the original documents you have can’t be amended.